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It was an intense night of European soccer as the first legs of the UEFA Europa League semifinals took place on Thursday. Bayer Leverkusen managed to win once again, 2-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma, while Atalanta drew 1-1 away against Olympique Marseille at the Velodrome in France. In seven days the teams will meet again for the second legs that will determine the 2023-24 finalists. Let's see what happened on Thursday: 

Bayer Leverkusen 2, AS Roma 0

Bayer Leverkusen remain unbeatable, at least for now, and likely secured their spot in the final in Dublin thanks to the goals scored by Florian Wirtz and Robert Andrich. Roma tried to resist at least in the first part of the match as Romelu Lukaku also hit the crossbar, but then the difference between the two sides became apparent. Rick Karsdorp's mistake led to the opening goal of the match scored by Wirtz which drastically changed the game. It's difficult to see how Bayer can lose the chance to qualify for the final in the second leg. 

Marseille 1, Atalanta 1

It's 1-1 at the end between OM and Atalanta after the guests scored the opener with Gianluca Scamacca, the man of the moment for the team coached by Gian Piero Gasperini. Olympique Marseille were able to equalize with defender Chancel Mbemba a few minutes after Scamacca's goal, but then Atalanta kept the draw and everything will be decided next week when La Dea will host Jean-Louis Gasset's side in Bergamo. 

Goal of the day

Bayer Leverkusen's Andrich scored the goal of the day, as the 2023-24 Bundesliga champions won 2-0 in Rome against AS Roma. Josip Stanisic assisted Andrich, who scored a beautiful goal from outside the box that basically ended the Giallorossi's dreams to make a comeback in the first leg of the semifinals. That was Andrich's fifth goal in all competitions this season so far in 40 games played with Leverkusen. 

Player of the day

Who, if not him? Scamacca scored again and gave Atalanta the big chance to make their comeback in Italy with a draw in the first leg in France. The Italian striker is living a great moment, as he scored 16 goals in 37 games in all competitions so far, six in nine Europa League games, including the brace scored against Liverpool in the first leg of the quarterfinals at Anfield. His chances to become the starter of the Italian national team at UEFA 2024 Euro this summer is increasing game after game. 

Craziest moment

A mistake that couldn't change the final result, but AS Roma's Tammy Abraham had a big opportunity to score the 2-1 in the last minutes of the game against Bayer Leverkusen but his attempt went outside despite being in the best position possible to score his first European goal of the season. AS Roma could have more chances (still little) to come back in the second leg, but after this mistake, it now seems unlikely that they will go to a European final for the third season in a row. 

What's next

On May 9, Bayer Leverkusen will host AS Roma in Germany while Atalanta will host OM at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo. As things stand, it seems likely that Xabi Alonso's team will make it to the final, while Atalanta are now the favorites in their tie, but it won't be easy at all. The winners of the two matchups will meet in Dublin on May 22 for the final.